A warning for parents….
When we dropped our daughter off at University, we told her to change the world. Four years later, armed with a political science degree and some gender studies courses, she certainly intends to.
University was thoroughly enjoyable for her (well, except when she was raped by a classmate who spouted women’s rights appropriately), but other than that she had a great time and learned many, many things that challenged her previous views and her liberal, secular upbringing. Becka is the first person in our family since her Grandpa to graduate from post secondary school; her brother is still several years behind. Becka hopes to set policy and change legislation to reflect the astonishing new ideas University instilled in her — for the betterment of all.
Our daughter learned that freedom from offense trumps freedom of expression and freedom of speech. Essentially hate speech can be anything you don’t agree with and find offensive. The prevailing thought at her University: offensive rhetoric is exactly the same as physical violence. According to Becka, not only will this soon be mainstream society’s opinion, it will be the law. How nice to finally get rid of those lurking, pesky differences of opinion. It can be so unpleasant to be around folks who, incomprehensibly, don’t agree with you. Eventually, as a prosecutor, I imagine she’ll find it a good deal easier to legislate against those she finds offensive. It won’t matter they haven’t touched or threatened anyone or anything: she need only prove the perpetrator had a viewpoint the victim (and the State) didn’t approve of. How gratifying it will be to throw the book at some jerk for the way he or she thinks. My, she’ll be busy.
Becka learned that there is no longer any reason for debate because absolute tolerance is the goal and if that means shouting down anyone with a different viewpoint, then it’s ok to not be tolerant. There is no need to build your arguments or your resiliency, frankly, because if you aren’t able to yell loud enough to drown out the offensive opinion, retreating to a ‘safe space’ is always available and you won’t actually have to hear an opposing position. Another option is to report your discomfort to the bias police the campus employs and they will investigate said offensive rhetoric. That will surely shut them down! Good!
Our daughter learned that it’s not necessary to take responsibility for your behaviour if your reactions are triggered by micro-aggressions. So, the temper tantrums we endured whenever she was asked to help out with chores were actually defense mechanisms ‘triggered’ by our requests, er …micro-aggressions! This required she retreat to her bedroom, or as she now calls it her ‘safe space’, until the dishes were finished. Imagine that. So sorry, dear! We had no idea.
Becka now believes it possible to successfully legislate tolerance with punitive laws against those not politically correct. When you harshly repress opposing perspectives I guess they will just fade away, like a bad nightmare. People will simply change their minds when punished and tow the party line. Fabulous! Objectionable ideologies can be eradicated this way and they will never rise up in some twisted, growing, misunderstood underground movement threatening the peace, thank goodness. Isn’t that wonderful? In addition, freedom of religion is, conveniently, only important if it is one you know nothing about.
Further, our daughter learned those of European descent are nothing more than representatives of a racist culture who must be made to feel responsible for the repulsive actions of not only their contemporaries (and there are plenty of those), but also their ancestors, back to the medieval ages, and perhaps even further back than that. It is perfectly acceptable to vilify this entire group of people, purely on the basis of skin colour if they ‘trigger’ you (and they should). No one else from any other culture need be even mildly reflective. There are no other races that ever engaged in conquer, slavery, genocide or oppression and if so, they must have been totally justified. I did not know that Ida Amin, Papa Doc, Pinochet and Genghis Khan were white! Pretty surprising. My education has been sadly lacking but thankfully, Becka is here to expertly inform (although she has never heard of these folks).
Apparently, even the knowledge of all Europeans of antiquity should be dismissed. We must reject all discoveries, inventions or authorships by anyone even related to someone once entrenched in the Colonialist culture of yore. Gosh, I wish they had let us do that back in English 301 when Shakespeare, my mortal enemy, was all that was standing between graduation and me.
We must remember that although we may feel forced to look elsewhere for inspiration, it is never ok to culturally appropriate. This one is more confusing to us. We know we must not use words like ‘yin’ and ‘yang’ because we are not Chinese. We’re pretty sure we can eat Chinese food, but not sure if we are allowed to make it ourselves.
One group Becka likes is made up of people that think whites should be threatened, and stopped from hiring other whites and not be allowed to date the same in order to prevent all white progeny. This will, of course, solve all the world’s problems because no longer will there be any white people, responsible for all evil. Sounds like it will take some time to achieve this Utopia. Maybe whites should just be deported to Siberia! Although, I seem to remember more than a few other groups of ‘enemies of the people’ being ethnically cleansed in this way and I’m pretty sure that did not turn out so well, at least for them. Oh, well, no point worrying about consequences.
Her most surprising take away from the University, though, is that gender is a social construct. Our daughter, Becka (little Beckerina she loved to be called), learned at University that she is not a woman! She is also not a man. She is a non-binary, fluid, spectrum, pansexual trans gender queer who would like us to… well, is demanding, we refer to her with her chosen personal pronouns ‘they’, ‘them’ and ‘their’, and not ‘she’ and ‘her’, because she has discovered ‘she’… er… ‘they’ is ‘two-spirit’. This means that we do not have a daughter (and never did) and that ‘their’ younger brother doesn’t have a sister, nor my parents a granddaughter. Does this mean I can finally get rid of ‘their’ massive Barbie collection, ‘their’ boxes of clothes ‘they’ are going to get back into some day and ‘their’ homemade make-up/jewelry business idea? I’m not sure if I’m still a mother or not, but I know I’m still a parent because ‘they’ still asks for money.
Our ‘they’ (and I hope you don’t think the quotations are a hate-crime; I use them only for clarity), tells us mis-gendering someone will soon become a crime. (Not racial slurs, though, astonishingly.) No longer will we have to bother thinking for ourselves by using our own perceptions in determining with whom we are speaking, we will be required to use the personal pronouns others demand. I’m excited about this one! I’ve always felt I should be titled and am looking forward to being addressed as ‘Supreme Leader’ (finally)! If others don’t feel I resemble that designation, then they have another think coming. My being offended trumps their bullshit perceptions (and they can keep their freedom of speech to themselves). I understand that Facebook now identifies 70+ gender identities. What exciting times we live in! You can be anything you want, be it a dog, a fairy or a candlestick and the law will back you up. Gosh, I hope I can remember all these genders to avoid being fined, and of course, I don’t want to offend anyone. You know, I have previously wondered why some days I feel like wearing black leather pants with shit-kicking boots and some days a skirt with strappy sandals. Now I know! I must be a non-binary gender fluid queer!! I wonder, though, after trans men and women go through so much to change genders including hormone therapy and sex reassignment surgery, how do they feel about gender now being meaningless? I mean, wasn’t that the point?
There is so much more to learn at University now and Becka has given us a real education. For instance, it would appear that biology has nothing to do with gender at all. Who knew? I guess the fact that men and women have different genitalia is really just fake news. I wonder, though, if gender is a social construct, is non-gender also a social construct? Hmm.
Our (fill in the blank, here) has also learned it’s very effective to label other people in order to stop discussion and undermine credibility. ‘They’ has explained that although Millennials do not use labels, that it’s ok to label us because we are CIS gendered hets (gender identify with the anatomy we were born with and sleep with the opposite sex only). Its ok to be a bigot, as long as you are dissing those that are CIS gendered het. If this person you find so offensive (because of their sexual orientation and gender identity) is also white and male, it’s a homerun, no worries there. Surprisingly, ‘they’ has saved up quite a bit of hate for traditional gay people because they (I’m referring to gay people here—gosh, it gets confusing) fought for and believe in marriage, another evil social construct, and that gay people usually reserve changing personal pronouns from ‘he’ to ‘she’ and the reverse, until after reassignment surgery. Maybe they don’t even use ‘they’ and I’m sure that’s offensive… er, violent. I don’t think I’ll tell ‘they’s Buddhist, vegan, gay Grandpa about this last one—it would hurt his feelings. Of course, I’m sure Becka would say that Becka’s personal experience would trump his feelings, anyway, and not to worry about it–after all, ‘they’ is a Millennial.
What an eye-opener all this has been for us! Here is what my husband and I have learned after paying for an expensive University education for Becka:
Our son will not be attending University.